Sunday, July 13, 2008

General Party Planning Tips

  • Make two budgets, one you can afford, and one slightly less than that. Aim for the lower one, because you will almost always go over.
  • Follow through. Do not say you will throw a party for someone (to that person, at least) if you do not fully intend to follow through with it. It could be a recipe for hard feelings if it does not come to fruition.
  • Visualize the feel you want the party to have (classy, casual, theme, etc.). Picture the atmosphere as vivid as you can that you want to create. Also take into consideration the guest's personalities and/or the person you are throwing the party for.
  • Match the invitations and the party in terms of formality. Don’t send super formal invitations for a casual party and vice versa.
  • Don’t send out the invitations too late. Even for something like a casual birthday party, sometimes sending an invitation a month early is a good idea, particularly during busy seasons like summer vacations and around the holidays. People’s schedule’s can fill up quickly. Giving guests at least two weeks notice (and we mean AT LEAST) is courteous.
  • Serve a meal if you pick a time for the party to happen over a normal meal-time, and not just a tiny bit of appetizers. If a shower is a noon, people will come expecting lunch. It can be done inexpensively, and does not have to be formal (even just a tray of sandwiches and some fruit will work sometimes), but do not leave guests hungry.
  • Pick a style and stick with it. Some people do not like themes for parties, which is fine. If possible; however, at least try to pick a color or colors and be consistent with it. It gives a party a look of completeness and being polished.
  • Throw a party for the right reasons. I mention this with wedding events like showers and engagement parties particularly in mind. Something weird happens to people around weddings (if you've been through one, or involved with one, you know what I'm talking about).
These are emotional events that involve the whole "leave and cleave" issue, not just with parents, but with friendships also. It may sound strange, but sometimes people offer to throw a party but purposely make it not-so-great, or go to the other extreme and try to show someone else up.

Likewise, if you are a bride, resist guilting someone into throwing you an engagement party/shower/bachelorette party because you think they owe you somehow, and try not to demand too much of people. Keep in mind that throwing a party can be very expensive, and know that just the event in and of itself is a gift.

Too often it seems subliminal issues play too big of a part in things like this. Some events are no-brainers and you just want to throw them because they seem well-deserved or just appropriate. Others may give you an odd feeling. If that's the case, sit down and give it some thought before you proceed.

  • Get creative! Don’t use cookie-cutter formats for celebrations like showers and weddings just because you think you have to. Sometimes guests actually dislike traditional games at events like showers, so if you don’t love the idea of them, don’t use them.

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